Some advice please for 1st time Laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SVG, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. SVG macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2006
    Hello, Mac Fans:

    I am currently in the market for an Intel Core Duo notebook and is debating whether I should make a switch to Mac. I consider myself as a technical person and have quite a bit of hardware know-hows. Used desktop PCs for many years and will continue to do so for games, etc.

    In terms of Macs, I personally have not used them for a good 10 years, since OS 7, but that was back when I was in school. So, I really don't know how much has changed since. I always wanted a laptop, but never managed to fit it into my budget as a student. Now that I am working, that all changed for the better. :)

    Anyways, I am currently interested in the Intel iBook successor. I am looking for something with excellent battery life. I like something that would run a long time on standby (I am the type of person who goes to do something else then come back for 5 minutes). I am looking for the smaller size (12-13" LCD). I will use it mainly for wireless internet, some simple Office apps (probably just going to download OpenOffice), maybe picture editing (GIMP), watching DVDs.

    Probably the most intensive tasks I will perform is encoding MP3s (do they have freeware encoders like LAME or free tools for Mac?). What about video encoding (free tools such as VirtualDub?). I don't do much encoding but would like that functionality when I come across the need for it.

    As you can probably guessed, I don't buy software very much and rely a lot of freewares, how are freeware for Macs? Do they run well right now using Rosetta?

    My main reasons for thinking about Macs is probably I am simply getting tired of Windows, just want a change. Plus, I am not that crazy about getting a WinXP PC when Vista is around the corner. On the other hand, current deals for Dell Inspiron E1505 is insanely cheap. I am very familiar with Dell warranties and am not always a big fan of it. How is AppleCare in comparison?

    How good is Apple when it comes to new product shipping? Do they always take so long to ship like the MacBook Pro? My timeline is probably something in time by June. Also, should I ordered a Mac with minimum RAM, any recommendations on where to buy cheap RAM? In addition, what other file transfer techniques between PC & Mac besides USB drive & DVD-RW? Is Networking truly "plug & play" ready?

    I know that's a lot of questions I am asking on 1 post, and I surely do my best reading other people's scenarios, but as everyone is different, I thought I should ask before hand rather than being disappointed. Thank you in advance for your advice.

  2. w8ing4intelmacs macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2006
    East Coast, US
    You can buy a MacBook Pro now or an Intel iBook when they debut on 4/1. You will be so happy to make the switch, if only because there is so much free software available for Mac.
  3. carve macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2006
  4. ieani macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2006
    the states for now
    Well if you want it by June you better order one now :) Not really but by June it should just be a few days to shuip once supply meets demand. Get 1 GB minimum and then go to for cheap RAM. You can do file transfers ethernet to ethernet or with an external HDD or Ipod as well.

    Heres a directory of Mac Freeware by category: A few such as Handbrake are already universal .
  5. Seasought macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2005
    There is a significant amount of freeware for Macs. See and for examples.

    Yes, you can browse those sites I listed above or do some hunting of your own. Keep in mind that many things that run on other Unix-type platforms can be configured to run on OS X with a bit of work. This would be the exception not the norm.

    I think the complimentary care you get and the prices they require for an extension on AppleCare sucks personally. I have no first-hand experience with taking advantage of AppleCare so my opinion is probably not the most reliable.

    Again, I can't speak for Apple on the shipping front. As for RAM Newegg and DataMem are popular. I've ordered from DataMem and had a good experience. Concerning file transfers, you can use firewire drives, iPods or just file sharing over a network.

    You're really not jumping off the ship you usually ride to be honest. You'll be able to do the same things on your Mac that you did on your Windows machine - only you'll actually enjoy the experience on a Macintosh.
  6. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    12" iBook g4's are really just... mmm... mmmm. They do have some minor physical build issues. They aren't the best put-together machines on the market, but they are incredible for the price.

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